Newbie questions about my new coop


10 Years
Oct 4, 2009
Moorpark, CA
Hi, all I did was convert a 6'x12' dog run into a chicken run. I wrapped it with chicken wire to prevent predators from reaching inside. Flooring is natural ground, summers are very hot and dry here. In the middle of the run I placed an plastic doghouse on cinder blocks, and placed large 2" branches so they would roost in it. So far so good, but I had some questions before I continue work on the coop.

1) the 3 pullets do not use the dog house, even as I have been tossing them in there every night, but still have to weeks later. They always huddle next to the dog house every night on the ground.

2) whats the proper minimum night temperature for chickens?

3) I just read that leaving food at night is a no-no? thats a lot of extra work to take food out every night...
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Flock Mistress
12 Years
Apr 20, 2007
Ontario, Canada
Hi, welcome to BYC!

A lot of people use chainlink dog kennels for their chickens -- some of my runs are dog chainlink -- which works fine as long as you take the precautions you've taken, to close up gaps and put finer mesh on the bottom 2-3'. You do also need to protect against digging predators, though -- if it's on dirt, not slab, then it would be very wise to put a 2-4' wide "apron" all around the outside of the fence to keep things from digging in. See other posts for directions, or ask on this thread if it's not clear what I'm referring to.

As far as minimum night temperature, it depends on where you live and what their living arrangements are. See my 'cold coop' page, link below in my .sig, for more discussion of the subject. If they are roosting outdoors, it may be that they dislike the doghouse (not enough light? not enough ventilation? don't like the roost?) or it may simply be that the weather is nice enough they prefer sleeping al fresco. It is really worth the effort to train them to go IN at night, though, as you are far more likely to have your predatorproofing tested if raccoons etc can SEE sleeping chickens sitting right there on the other side of the fence.

Unless these are meat chickens (broilers, CornishX, whatever you wanna call them) there is no reason to take away food at night, except that if you cannot shut the coop up with the food inside, it can attract vermin such as rats. Which not only builds up the local rat population but also can get expensive to be feeding alllll those mouths

Good luck, have fun,


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